1:20 PM
Nov 09, 2017
 |  BC Innovations  |  Finance

The return of big

Highlights of public-private partnerships from 3Q17

After a slow second quarter, pharmas have stepped up their activity in public-private partnerships, announcing 13 in 3Q17, compared with only five in the quarter before. The deals bring the third quarter total to 56, almost double the number signed in the same quarter last year, and putting the numbers on track to match or exceed the year total of 2016.

The numbers suggest the drop in new PPPs last year compared with 2015 may have been a dip rather than a trend, with this year’s numbers leveling off, if not growing, and remaining constant through all three quarters. But in all, the activity is far off the heyday of 2012 (see “PPPs and Consortia Activity by Quarter”).

Figure: PPP and consortia activity by quarter

Since 2011, BioCentury has been tracking public-private partnerships (PPPs) that are preclinical research deals between at least one company and at least one institution or public partner, providing one quantitative measure of industry’s move to external innovation. The total number of PPPs formed (left) show relative consistency for the past four quarters, but overall numbers are still down from the peak in 2012. The total number of consortia announced (right) -- which BioCentury considers as a PPP with four or more partners -- leveled off in 2016 after two years of decline, but is on pace for another drop in 2017. Of the nine consortia announced through the end of 3Q17, seven involved big pharma companies.

Of the five companies with multiple PPPs in 3Q17, three were big pharmas: Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. announced three deals, and Eli Lilly and Co. and Johnson & Johnson each announced two. One of the Lilly deals, a $52 million collaboration with Purdue University, is included below in highlights of the quarter.

The other company leaders were Aslan Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Merck KGaA, with two PPPs each.

Among public partners, NIH was the top dealmaker, with four PPPs last quarter and nine for the year through Sept. 30. Perennial powerhouse University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was notably silent in 2Q17 and 3Q17, disclosing no new preclinical PPPs, but has announced two new partnerships since the start of 4Q17. One was with BridgeBio Pharma LLC to create the JV Navire Pharma Inc., which is developing targeted therapies in cancer; the other was with Moleculin Biotech Inc. to develop an immune stimulation drug. By contrast, MD Anderson signed five deals in the same quarters...

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